Chief Magistrate of an Abuja Chief Magistrates’ Court, Musa Abdulrazaq Eneye, on Wednesday granted bail to six EndSARS protesters in the sum of N50,000 each with one surety each in the like sum.
The six defendants who were arrested while wearing RevolutionNow T-Shirt during a protest in front of theNational Assembly are Olutosin Adeniji, Yasidu Bashiru, Abdulsalam Zubairu, Kabiru Garzali, Paul Akinwumi and Devour Chomo.
Before granting the bail, Chief Magistrate Eneye expressed displeasure over an alleged malicious publication on last week’s arraignment of the EndSARS protesters.
He averred that transpired in the open court wss twisted and turn on social media.
The Chief Magistrate who drew the attention of the lawyer and prosecution to the malicious publication warned that there are laws guiding procedures in court and that any violation would lead to contempt of court.
He urged journalists to always ensure judicial reporting and avoid undue sensationalism.
He also urged them to avoid reports that could prejudice pending matters.
The protesters were arraigned on Friday November 6, 2000 by the FCT Commissioner of Police on a charge of criminal conspiracy, unlawful assembly and inciting public disturbance contrary to Section 97 of the Penal Code.
Although the six defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge, they were however ordered to be remanded in Kuje Prison pending the time their formal application for bail would be argued.
At the presentation of their formal applications, the counsel to the defendants, Mr. Tope Akinyode, urged the court to admit them to liberal bail conditions.
The counsel argued the bail application pursuant to Sections 6, 35 and 36 of the 199 Constitution and Sections 156, 163, 164 and 165 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.
Although the bail applications with the affidavit evidence were served on the legal department of the FCT Police Command, no legal representation was made or any excuse offered for their absence.
Magistrate Eneye granted the bail application to be moved in line with the provision of the Abuja Magisterial rules.
He said the facts deposed to in the affidavit evidence of the defendants was convincing enough to warrant them to be admitted to bail.
The Chief Magistrate said the Court must not refuse bail as a way of punishing the defendants while bail condition must not be too excessive so as not to amount to a denial.
Having found merit in the bail application, the Chief Magistrate granted each defendant bail in the sum of N50,000 and one surety in the like sum.
However, the surety must have a source of income and must submit a passport photograph and a means of identifications to the registrar of the court.
He then adjourned hearing in the matter till January 25, 2021.
Reacting to the ruling, the counsel to the defendants commended Chief Magistrate Eneye for granting his clients bail in liberal terms and assured that the defendant would not do anything to abuse it.
Also reacting to the malicious publication, a Senior Lawyer, Mr Olumide Babalola who led the legal team for the defence of the six EndSARS protesters praised the magistrate for the matured way he handled the said publication against him.
The lawyer however said that the publication did not emanate from any lawyer in the defence team of the defendants.